New Cases Of Interest – January 14, 2020

Island Springs Conference & Training Center v. City of Banning (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 416.

In this case a judgment creditor brought a successful motion to amend the judgment to add an additional judgment debtor as an alter ego.  The issue related to the amount of attorneys’ fees relating to that successful motion which were awarded.  The court of appeal found that because the fees sought were prejudgment fees, incurred to obtain the judgment in the alter ego proceeding, they were timely sought under Rules of Court Rule 3.1702(b)(1) and all fees incurred should have been considered on remand to the trial court.

Briganti v. Chow (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 504.  This is a SLAPP motion.

Defendant had made social media comments about the plaintiff as a motivational speaker and the court found that the SLAPP motion was properly granted as to a claim for intentional interference with respect to economic advantage, but denied as to a claim for defamation.  Statements made, that the plaintiff was a convicted criminal and had stolen the identifies of thousands of people, were clearly defamatory and plaintiff had met a burden of showing probability of prevailing on those claims.

O&C Creditors Group, LLC v. Stephens & Stephens XII, LLC (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 546.

This is again a SLAPP motion.  The SLAPP motion was properly granted because claims in this case arose from protected settlement activity and plaintiff could not prevail on a contingent fee agreement that the clients had rescinded for noncompliance with statutory requirements.

Fabian v. Renovate America, Inc. (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 1062.

This was a petition to compel arbitration.  The court found that the petition was properly denied because the party seeking to enforce the petition failed to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the other party had electronically signed the subject contract which contained the arbitration provision.  This is an interesting case because of the growing prevalence of electronic signatures, and this was done through the DocuSign company.  The court was concerned about the adequacy of the declaration submitted in stating that the party being charged had actually signed the contract, electronically or otherwise, and the conclusory declaration submitted was insufficient.  The court required specific details about the circumstances surrounding the contract’s execution.

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